"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

Democracy Rising

Amir Taheri has an excellent article about the recent rise of democracy in Arab states in his article Democracy Rising. He notes,

The exercise will help consolidate the idea of holding elections as a means of securing access to power - something new and still fragile in most Arab states. Days before the Kuwaitis were due to go to the polls, the United Arab Emirates announced that it, too, would opt for a parliamentary system based on elections. This means that all but five of the Arab states are now committed to holding reasonably clean elections at municipal and/or national levels.

Some of this new interest in elections is due to the impact of Iraq on the broader Arab imagination. With a mixture of admiration and terror, Arab ruling elites saw how Saddam Hussein's regime - regarded as the strongest of the Arab despotic structures in recent memory - collapsed within three weeks. The message was clear: An Arab regime without some mandate from the people is never more than a house of cards.
In only five short years since the start of the Bush Doctrine, democracy is taking hold in the Middle East. For people who are worried that democracy in the middle east will lead to a rise in Islamists, Amir Taheri points out:

And radical Islamists have never managed to win a majority of votes in any Arab election so far. (Hamas pulled less than 44 percent of the popular vote but won a majority in the Palestinian parliament thanks to a bizarre electoral system.) Even in Saudi Arabia, the stronghold of radical Islamism, last year's municipal elections showed that, at least in the kingdom's urban centers, there was no Islamist majority.
Finally, he points to the significance of the Kuwaiti election stating:

Kuwait is the only Arab state in which virtually all political sensibilities - from radical Islamist to radical secularist - are openly competing for power. And, because Kuwaitis enjoy a degree of freedom of expression unknown in any other Arab state apart from new Iraq, the election has provided an opportunity for a lively debate which, though primarily aimed at the state's half a million voters, is also addressed at peoples throughout the region.
Yes, terrorists are still trying to prevent democracy, most visibly in Iraq. However, they are disregarding what is happening in Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Democracy is on the rise in the Arab world. While all eyes are focused on Iraq, terrorists are losing their foothold in the Middle East as more and more Arab nations turn to democracy.

The beacon of light which is Iraq, despite ongoing violence, is continuing to shine and is getting brighter and brighter daily.